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“With the rise of the Internet, CTOs started appearing in businesses outside the software industry, because every company, whether it sold printers or pet food, needed technology to gain a foothold on the Web. If your company is consistently getting leapfrogged by more technically savvy competitors, you almost certainly need a CTO to help hone your competitive edge.”

- Dylan Tweney, Author of Business 2.0

Does your organization need a CTO? It really depends on what is important to you. A CTO is a strategic role that can solve your enterprise challenges in various areas:

  1. Managing cost and schedule.
  2. Managing quality and competitiveness.
  3. Managing risk and opportunity.
  4. Providing ongoing technological support for business processes.
  5. Providing technology leadership to the business.

The answer is YES if you need good answers to the questions in any of these areas.

In terms of cost management:

  • How much will it cost to build what we need? How can we control costs but effectively get stuff developed?
  • Do we have to build everything? What are the cost and time saving shortcuts that we can use?
  • How can we prioritize the development / implementation to balance between cost, features, time, and risk?
  • How much will it cost to build what we need? How can we control costs but effectively get stuff developed?
  • How do we get ourselves prepared for scalability without significant cost?

I have questions on cost management

In terms of competitive (quality) management:

  • What systems that we need to implement to get ahead and stay ahead of the competition?
  • What are the innovative business models that we may create by technology?
  • What are the most suitable technologies for delivering our business model?
  • What other systems that we most likely required? Where are the possible integration or interfacing points with these systems?
  • What technologies will we use? What existing systems will we leverage, what programming languages, software development methodologies, web application frameworks, revision control systems, etc.?

I have questions on competitive management

In terms of risk management:

  • How to avoid building a business that customers do not want?
  • How will we build the systems in such that it can respond to marketplace changes?
  • What are the biggest business and technical risks? How can we address these risks?
  • What are the important security considerations?

I have questions on risk management

In terms of ongoing business support:

  • How are we going to manage the product roadmap? What is the fastest way to get our product out to the market, but without sacrificing our longer-term objectives?
  • Where are the potential areas with scalability issues? What kind of spikes that we will be expecting?
  • How do we partner with others? How does the systems support our partnership strategy?
  • What that we built can be protected to become our competitive advantage?
  • What do we need to prepare pass the technical due diligence required by investors and partners?

I have questions on ongoing business support

In terms of technology leadership:

  • What technology research is required?
  • What are the staff that we require over time? How will we find and interview developers?
  • How do we motivate and manage developers?
  • What do we build in-house or outsource? Who are our suitable vendors?

I have questions on technology leadership

What do others think?

“I just had an all-too common conversation with the founder of a startup who had spent more than a year working with a software / web development company who had produced a mess. The mess really comes from a developer who was willing to get started on a product that was not fully thought out.”

- Dr. Tony Karrer, CEO of TechEmpower

“The CTO’s primary job is to make sure the company’s technology strategy serves its business strategy. If that sounds either too simple or too generic, think for a second if any companies you know do the reverse. Have you ever heard a technologist use technical mumbo-jumbo to make it sound like a business idea he or she didn’t like was basically impossible? That’s what we should be trying to avoid.”
- Eric Ries, Author of The Lean Startup Book

“If you go out and find a developer, they will often default to the technologies they know, they are going to build it in-house, and it’s going to cost whatever they estimate based on their particular time. You don’t want to just default to those answers when there are a lot of other possibilities to consider.”
- Dr. Tony Karrer, CEO of TechEmpower

“Your new CTO’s technology vision should fall in line with your overall business strategy. Therefore, strong business development experience coupled with excellent communication skills are essential. While many IT professionals can think technically, they have a hard time communicating it to a wide audience. Hire someone well-versed in communication between developers, customers and team members.”
- Erica Nicole, Founder of YFS Magazine

“It’s natural to want a tech savvy and competent CTO. However, it’s more important that the CTO have exceptional interpersonal skills and be able to manage a team effectively. Be sure that the CTO is prepared to deal with a variety of personality and working styles. Solid leadership is essential to the success of any team.”
- Lisa Nicole Bell, CEO of Inspired Life Media Group

“There are many super hackers out there To use “coding skills” as your primary criteria when hiring a CTO is the equivalent of not looking over your shoulder when changing lanes in a car. A great CTO thinks about product before code, they think of the value the product is creating, and they know how to effectively lead developers.”
- Brenton Gieser, Co-Founder of Be Social Change

“Your CTO should be able to handle your development team so that projects run along smoothly. It will be important that your CTO can execute on big projects, too, hacking away to build an amazing product that is agile.”
- Danny Wong, Brand Manager of Blank Label Group, Inc.

“The CTO should always be looking for a better way to do things and inspiring the developers to do the same. From a technical standpoint, in addition to being a skilled programmer, the CTO should have a background in architecture and database design.”
- David Schnurman, CEO of Lawline

What do our customers think?